The thing about bad habits is they creep up on you. Good habits, by contrast, take a lot of focus and relentless application to develop. Here are some of the worst, unhealthiest habits that are unfortunately prevalent in our modern, overworked and overfed society. Guard vigilantly against them, and you’ll be a healthier, happier person for it!
Addicted to Screens
How much of your day do you spend staring at your screen? If, like most of us, you spend most of your time at work on a computer, and stare at your smartphone the entire duration of your commute to and from the office, you probably spend as many as 12 to 16 hours a day looking at an electronic screen. You may suffer from eye fatigue and myopia as well as low sleeping quality due to such prolonged sessions.
- Vision breaks — For every 30 minutes spent in front of a screen, take a 2 to 3-minute vision break. This will help to clear your mind, relieve stress and stimulate creativity.
- Eye drops — Soothing eye drops can help mitigate this.
- No screens before bed — To maintain restful sleep patterns, keep your electronics out of the bedroom and commit yourself to 15 to 20 minutes of screen-free activity before bed. 1
Overeating can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. People who control their food portions poorly and those who tend to eat mindlessly while watching TV or surfing the internet tend to overeat.
Try ordering in batches when eating out. It takes up to fifteen minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full, so you’ll tend to eat less because you’ll start feeling full before your next order! Also, eating is a pleasure, we should give ourselves time to enjoy it. Set aside at least 20 to 30 minutes for each meal, consume it in great company and with gusto, and avoid snacking in between.
Most of us had parents and teachers barking at us to sit up straight when we were younger, but we always failed to listen. The end result? Most Hong-Kongers have terrible posture, with slumped shoulders, rounded backs and a hunched neck. Slouching may seem comfortable at first, but it can lead to muscular and skeletal problems in the long run:
- Don't stay put — Try not to sit down for too long as this increases the likelihood of slouching. Getting up and walking around for a minute or two will keep your muscles limber and reduce pressure on your spine.
- Support your lower back — When you’re driving, sitting at a desk or even watching TV, place a firm cushion behind your lower back. This reminds you to sit up straight.
- Be mindful of posture when using a computer — If you have a desk job, adjust your chair and computer so your forearms are parallel the desk or table and your feet are flat on the floor.
Bad habits are hard to shake. Prevention, therefore, is better than cure. So stay alert. If you see these bad habits developing in yourself or your loved ones, nip them in the bud before it’s too late!
- Working with VDUs. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Website visited 9 March 2011.